I really don’t want to get so far out into something wrong or evil or false and become so fascinated with it. However, this is something where Torah really cleared up both a passage in scripture where Yeshua says something, as well as my own personal experience. I believe this lends itself to something very important, and that is vital for living from the truth as the end of the age barrels in upon us, our children, and our grandchildren.
I also believe this will allow us to delight int he truth far more! Being able to disregard the gobs of information being dispensed by individuals without being concerned about missing something is a significant problem. There is so much going on, especially this moment (Aug 2015) where people are claiming things, it is almost impossible to strain out what might be important, let alone true.
Is it True or False?
For my purpose here, True and False need to be defined.
Classically, these would be operational definitions I’m familiar with, and many people I know would say something similar.
True: Something God is saying and/or doing. My reference here isn’t whether something is “factually” true, but whether it is something to be paid attention to or not. For example:
- Ecstatic/prophetic gifts being exercised where someone is claiming to be operating in the Spirit of Yah. “Words of Knowledge”, or foretelling events, or praying for healing, or demonstrating other things.
- Interpretations of Scripture, along with directives on how to apply it.
- Dreams and Visions being shared
False: Anything NOT originating from YHVH. Some folks would call this something from our own “fleshly” desires, or even from demonic/evil supernatural sources.
The problem turns out that this question isn’t actually good enough to help us know what to listen to, or what to do. It isn’t simply whether something is true or false with these definitions. Trying to discern whether something is true or false (God or not) isn’t the standard in scripture. And that really shocked, and helped me a lot.
Lets work backwards . . .
Most people who come into the christian religion go through a process of in-“doctrination” (this process is normally called “discipleship”, but it is largely geared toward internalizing christian doctrine into someone) . In certain circles of this culture, there is elements dedicated to “spiritual gifts”, which can be very helpful navigating the myriad things that happen outside of the abilities of humanity.
disclaimer – Im am both very comfortable with, and a proponent of the work of YHVH’s own Spirit. I believe the Spirit of Yah is not only the PROMISE of the re-Newed Covenant, but the power that directed Yeshua, raised Him from the dead. The Spirit of Yah is to be received by us, and because the Spirit of Yah is not human (or “natural”), many things the Spirit of Yah does will be un-intuitive or beyond natural (i.e. super-natural). I’m ok with that.
Part of this process of navigating “spiritual things” is trying to understand if it is “God or not”. The basic idea here is that supernatural interactions in our finite, human experience were common to Yeshua, and the disciples in the 1st century. And I think scripture makes that abundantly clear. Yeshua says this, the emissaries of Yehusa experienced it, and even people not noted specifically as “APOSTLES” (BIG A, Big Boys) did. If you do not know this, or believe it, read it for yourself.
And some of these supernatural things were evil. There are a few stories from Moses and Aaron through to Paul where someone working from a spirit other than Yah was doing or saying something which had peoples attention.
But it turns out that this concept of “God or not” isn’t actually the problem. Obviously, if it ISN’T the working of Yah, we don’t want to do anything about it (except for maybe to push it away, i.e. cast it out, or even silence it).
But what if it is the power of Yah working, but STILL not something to be received? Is that even possible?
Starting from the End
In the end of the christian bible, we have the WORD of Yah (I believe the Memra) interacting in a human form with a human man. There are things being said that are direct, literal corrections to groups of people (letters to the 7 congregations), and disclosing things to come that have not yet happened. In closing of this interaction, there is a couple of interesting statements:
[Rev 22:6, 14-15 NIV] 6 The angel said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true. The Lord, the God who inspires the prophets, sent his angel to show his servants the things that must soon take place.”
14 “Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. 15 Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
There are several pieces throughout this whole prophecy that say similar things from beginning to end. The first concept is that the prophets being talked about int he first section are easily understood in context to be true prophets of God. However interestingly it isnt stating that 100% exclusively.
The second part I reference is important as well. It sets a distinction between people who are able to enter into the Kingdom of Yah vs. people who cannot. This is important, and throughout this whole book there is a difference between people who are on each side.
A hard saying of Yeshua
So Yeshua says several things in and around this concept.
[Mar 16:15-18 NKJV] 15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. 17 “And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; 18 “they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
This is a classic verse, and fundamental to christian doctrine. It is normally associated with the Great Commission, a bedrock tenet. The idea here is the supernatural events described, which do not in any way seem to be a comprehensive list but examples, will help support and demonstrate the reality of the Kingdom of Yah being here now for those who have “eyes to see and ears to hear” (the very phrase is actually used in the Revelation portion at the end of the christian bible).
Earlier in his ministry, Yeshua gives this insight
Matthew 7:21-23 NKJV
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.
“Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’
“And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!‘
This on is really rough. The prior reference says supernatural things like speaking by the Spirit of Yah, casting evil, demonic spirits out of people, surviving deadly things are much more accompany the proclamation of the Kingdom of Yah. But this reference says that many (MANY!) people will experience these things, and because of that assume they will be among the ones who can enter into the Kingdom at the end of the Age (the same people who have “washed their robes”. However, to their total suprise, they are rejected at the gate of the city, and sent out to take their place among those who PRACTICE evil.
At this point, my mind reels and thinks HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE? The ones who do the will of YHVH the Father enter the Kingdom, the ones who don’t are not just sent away, but they are defined by implication as those who DON’T do the will of YHVH.
At another point Yeshua even explains
[Luk 11:17-20 NIV] 17 Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them: “Any kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and a house divided against itself will fall. 18 If Satan is divided against himself, how can his kingdom stand? I say this because you claim that I drive out demons by Beelzebul. 19 Now if I drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your followers drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. 20 But if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.
WHAT THE HECK????? So driving out demons is exclusively a “finger of God” thing. Sure you could argue that some demonic being could displace another demonic being on order to deceive people. I could also imagine that the demonic world is full of evil, and demons hate each other and fight one another etc…
But Yeshua claims something different in Matthew 7. He says the distinction is PRACTICING LAWLESSNESS.
Law and Lawlessness
This is where things get seemingly weirder. Before I go further, lets make a quick operational definition here….
Law is a weird word in the christian scriptures. We western moderns think of law as laws like in a legal sense. But the use of the word law, especially in the “New” testament, is very often a reference to the Torah, the list of directives and requirements for membership and identification as YHVH’s chosen people.
To be law-less, means to be without Torah. Literally, against, or without it.
Nomia is the Greek word translated Law normally, and anomia is the word lawless (against law). Nomia is used in the Septuagint (Greek “Old Testament”) as reference to Torah, or commands of Yah. Not jsut things Yah said, but the literal directives such as the “10 commandments”. efinitive, blunt statements like “DO” and “DON’T”.
This isn’t some crazy made up idea. While in some cases of Pauls writings, the English word “law” is used for several different things, not just the Torah, it is clearly used in scripture as the body of commands of God throughout the “New Testament” that was the only existing body of Gods words at the time of Yeshua and the 1st century ambassadors.
Let this sink in a bit, and then we will move back even further to what untangled everything for me.
The Original Guideline
To recap so far:
- The Goal of a follower of Yah is to be obedient to the things which are True.
- Jesus lets us know that things will occur when fulfilling the directives to share the Kingdom of God here and now, meta-physical or super-natural things (beyond the human physical or natural abilities of humans) can occur. These things attend tot he proclamation of the Kingdom, and help to confirm ans demonstrate the Kingdom of God (not humans) is at hand.
- At the end of the age, God will separate people. Some will be allowed in to the Kingdom of God forever, and some will not. The difference is that those who are allowed in have “washed their robes”, i.e. been made clean. Those who are sent outside are those who have made a practice of unacceptable activity (evil/illegal)
- Some people will believe all the way to the end that they are going to be allowed into the Kingdom, and find out only at the end they will not. Their assumption is based on the fact that they have been experiencing all the supernatural things while they have acted in proclamation of the Kingdom message. And Jesus explains to them they are as lawless as the people who practice the illegal things who are forbidden to enter.
- The operational definition of lawless is tied to the obedience to the commands of God, which at the time they were explained by Jesus (the same person who judges at the end) represent the WHOLE BODY of information Yahweh commanded and describes to the people who claim to be Yahweh’s.
This is distressing enough, and has lots of implications. I cannot get to them all in this article, but it brings me back to my original problem.
How do you understand when something being shared or experienced, or someone, is worth listening to?
It turns out that the principles established early on in scripture are not just a an answer, but a warning. And it ties into the words towards the end of the scriptures from Yeshua not just agree but uses the same criteria as a warning and an eventual operational definition for who even gets in to the Kingdom. I think the following begins to explain the how is it possible and what do I do problems. Before I try to break it down, let me share WHY this is so impacting to me.
Several years ago, I ended up “planting a church”. At the very early origins of it, both myself and another man were primarily initiating it, and within several months, many more people got involved. This guy had become both a dear friend, and we had spent quite a lot of time together for a bit more than a year. Out families were interconnected.
We had many interesting experiences, and this guy was very demonstrative about several revelatory things. At one point, he even prayed for a woman who had breast cancer, and she was by all accounts healed. Regularly we experienced information that was seemingly miraculous and unable to be known by any of us.
It would be a long, long story, but in essence, this man turned out to be INCREDIBLY defiling. His behavior became more and more suspect, and eventually was caught in severe immorality. Upon that bit of information, it was as if the curtains were opened, and many women came forward with similar stories. It actually gets even worse, but suffice to say it was one of those serious, soap opera stories that turn everyone’s stomach when they hear about it. And it kept getting worse. This wasnt someone with an addiction having a struggle, this was a predator, even using supernatural revelation to manipulate women for sexual favors, and extracting money and assets from people. The community had not realized that everything revolved around this guy. Without us knowing it, he really did become and idol.
One of the biggest questions became what stuff was real, and what stuff was not? It really began to be was ANYTHING real? How could anything real (or “true” in this case) could ever come out of something so clearly polluted? Was this all evil? Demonic? Was it a real gift, and simply misused?
Over the years as I began healing and recovering, I had yet to understand how to make any sense of this. I also began to realize that this had implication as I learned more about eschatology. What we experienced was no doubt similar to what is termed anti-Christ. The last we heard this guy started this all over again in another city, with much the same behaviors. He had began even dragging a cross all around the downtown area. He has never approached any of us involved in the original community to demonstrate repentance.
Moses instructs the Israelites about something that should direct them in these very situations. This is being spoken from God directly to the people through Moses
Deuteronomy 13:1-5 (English 12:32-13-4)
Everything I command you that you shall be careful to do it. You shall neither add to it, nor subtract from it.
If there will arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of a dream, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder of which he spoke to you happens, [and he] says, “Let us go after other gods which you have not known, and let us worship them,” you shall not heed the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of a dream; for the Lord, your God, is testing you, to know whether you really love the Lord, your God, with all your heart and with all your soul.
You shall follow the Lord, your God, fear Him, keep His commandments, heed His voice, worship Him, and cleave to Him.
While it seems pretty obvious, lets break this down
- God is explaining that you should NEVER change what God commands. Don’t add to it, don’t remove anything. Gods commands are contained in Gods WORDS, which are collectively called TORAH. So you NEVER CHANGE TORAH.
- God then talks about people who experience and/or produce supernatural situations that are real. In other parts of scripture God makes it clear that someone who says something and it doesn’t happen is already not experiencing something God originated. This is addressing when the events actually happen.
- God then explains that when something is true (in the sense that the sign or wonder or foretelling is real) and happens, it is God at work.
- If the person who is involved in this supernatural event then begins to encourage or facilitate worshiping anything or anyone else, the event itself is true, but the person themselves is FALSE.
- That means this is a TEST…. FROM GOD.
- The term for going after other gods and worshiping them is far more subtle and simple than it seems. This isnt traditionally thought of as just bowing down in front of a statue. Inf act, one of the keys is understanding point 1. Any disobedience to God is essentially worshiping something else. Altering any of Gods directives is disobedience. Dis obedience is idolatry. It is following after yourself.
- The test is whether you really Love God.
So the issue isn’t whether the sign and wonder or information of event is from God or not. That isnt actually the problem. For years in my mind this was the main problem, but it turns out this was never the problem. The problem is do I LOVE GOD?
This passage defines Loving God by inference: To obey God, not change what God commands, to worship God only. It is continuing on from where I was, and not going turning direction. Anyone who has walked with Yah knows this experience.
The test is not if a miracle occurs. They SHOULD OCCUR. Debates about whether this or that is for today are fairly senseless. When they do occur, it is a great thing to rejoice and be encouraged. However the real test is whether the person involved is advocating ANYTHING which would redirect someone away from God, and just as important, change anything about obedience to Gods commands or the commands themselves.
I would even go so far as to say (at this point in my current understanding which is always growing and developing) that there isn’t qualification here, and it is specifically about obedience. And it is obedience to the directives already issued. Those must stand by themselves, and nothing is to be added or removed or changed.